Saturday, November 12, 2005

Happy Veterans Day.

I spend a lot of time looking at couples' left hands, trying to figure out if they're married/engaged or not. Occupational hazard. At any rate, my husband and I ended up having dinner at a donut shop last night (that's another story), when a soldier dressed in fatigues and his girlfriend walked in and sat down directly across from us. My thought process went exactly like this: "Huh, I wonder if they're married, wait, she's wearing a ring but I don' think it's a wedding/engagement ring, and he's not wearing a ring...I wonder what branch of the military he's in (everybody wears fatigues, and they're the same kind, or at least close enough that I can't generally tell), no can't tell from the jacket he just took off..." Long story short - I was staring at them. Not really noticing I was staring at them, until the soldier looked at me and said, "Is the uniform making you uncomfortable, ma'am?"

"Uh, no, sorry. I didn't mean to stare. Are some people uncomfortable with the uniform?
"Yeah, I've been threatened with a gun twice since I've been back."
My jaw dropped open. Seriously? I mean, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, people can be idiots, but, like, the war isn't his fault. I'm not a fan of this war, but I'm a fan of the military, because they're necessary - someone has to do it, for one, and if they want to make a living by serving their country, more power to them.Some of the coolest people I've known were in the military, and I've been asked if I support the troops and I usually reply that I support them so much that I want every one of them to come back alive. And I'm glad that the guy in the donut shop did.

And no, I didn't tell him why I was staring. I figured he was under enough pressure as it was.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Coming Up

So, i've been working on my first podcast - which is not as easy as iTunes would have you believe. Luckily the Apple Store at the Grove has free classes on podcasting and Garage band, one of which is on Saturday, so I should hopefully have it posted next week. In the meantime, I'm putting together a mix cd of first dance songs of weddings that I've done. Email me if you'd like the playlist.

In the meantime, I'm actively working on three events - a debutante ball in December, a wedding on Catalina Island next August, and another wedding at Cicada downtown in December. And some more in the pipeline, so life is good.

How are you guys doing?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Oh, the Irony

The busier I get, the less time I have to post, which is why it's been quite a few days since you've heard from me.

First of all, congrats to Robbin and Michael, who had their wedding at the Santa Barbara Zoo. It's a lovely little zoo, not too far from home (although I got a hotel stay out of it anyway, yay!) and they have a huge grassy field where we set up the wedding and reception. We had to bring everything in, so it was another circumstance where we had to make sure that we had more than what we needed of any item, to include double servings, breakages, that type of stuff. And we ended up needing them, too - Robbin and Michael pulled a fast one on me and added a loaf of challah bread to every table (you guys!), so I was able to use the extra salad plates and napkins we had. Luckily, salad isn't as popular as it should be. Everything was beautiful, turned out wonderfully, and I'll post pictures just as soon as I get them. If you're thinking of a destination vacation, and most of your guests live in L.A., the zoo is a great choice. Everyone there couldn't have been nicer or more helpful, and their vendor recommendations were spot on. It even overlooks the ocean.

This weekend is "dark" for me, but I've got a couple of potential client meetings coming up, so wish me luck.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Tips from Real Weddings

The first tip is self-serving, the second tip serves you:

1. Deana and Jeremy had their wedding and reception in two different locations. They didn't really think they needed a wedding planner per se, but they DID need someone who could pick up the centerpieces, placecards and decorations for the reception and knew how to set it all up,within a tight 2-hr window. So, they hired me. $40 an hour, and it came out to around four hours total.

2. Janet and Eric's wedding on Saturday was at a private estate. Their caterers had to build a kitchen from scratch outside, and the site doesn't allow you to use any of their indoor kitchen facilities, for various reasons. Now, that's not as rare as you'd think, so make sure you check with your reception site. Because once they ran out of clean dishes, glassware and silverware, there was no way to clean the dirty ones. So, if don't have kitchen privileges, you're going to have to order more stuff to compensate, and your caterer and rental company will be MORE than happy to help you out with that.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

"In Style Weddings" Review!

The new issue hit the stands last week, and oh, boy is it pretty!

Page 85 features highlights from Nicole Ritchie's engagement party - a tent filled to the brim with white paper lanterns. But, to give it a softer effect, only half of the lanterns were lighted. Absolutely gorgeous. I'm digging the long tables, too. More pictures on 137.

Page 121: Honeymooning in England. The only place I want to go that I haven't been, yet. Looks like fun.

Page 149: A 10-step post engagement checklist, featuring advice from a lot of wedding planners who aren't me. But don't you worry, I'm getting in there someday.

Page 170: My absolute favorite thing in this issue. An event designer hung placecards from long ribbons hanging from trees, and weighted them down with rose blossoms. Also a great idea for beach weddings - a shoe check, complete with benches and chairs so people could sit down and take them off before proceeding to the ceremony. I also saw another idea around somewhere: offering your guests flip-flops.

page 220: Ultimate Bridal Workout, starting six months out.

page 295: Favors to fit every taste. I like the stainless steel swiss tool kit, myself. Ooh, and the personalized cookie tins!

Plus, there's a lot of pictures and ads for unique invitations and pretty, pretty gowns, and celebrity weddings galore. Enjoy!

Also, podcasts by next week. At least one.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Vacation! All I ever wanted...

Greetings from Phoenix! I'm visiting Winnie, one of my best friends, and her fiance Matthias. So far, all we've done is hang out and eat. And basically, all we're planning to do for the next couple of days is...hang out and eat. This will actually be a working vacation for me, since I have two big weddings coming up in a few weeks - one at the Craven Estate in Pasadena on October 8th, and another at the Santa Barbara Zoo on October 16th. Plus, I've got a recurring gig with this great professional entrepreneur networking group, Shared Vision Network organizing their monthly luncheon. So, I've been busy. And I welcome the break.

Friday, I had a wedding at Tivoli Terrace, which is in Laguna Beach. Now, as I've said before, I'm oddly obsessed with the MTV show, but I'd forgotten how absolutely gorgeous it is there. No wonder LC wanted to come back. Tivoli Terrace is beautiful as well - I'll post pictures in the next couple of days - and their staff has everything covered. I didn't really have to do that much. They're very structured though, because you only have about five hours to do everything, wedding to goodbye toast at the reception. I was unbelievably impresed, however. Saturday weddings are $45-95 per person, depending on what time you want to get married. Yes, I liked it enough to hawk it for free.

Also, I need questions for next month's advice column. I pick yours, four free hours.

And, hey! The website relaunches next month! So, stay tuned.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Vulture Alert: Bridal Shop Closing

Pink Diamond Bridal in Woodland Hills is closing their doors, and offering 20-80% discounts on all their inventory. 21842 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills, 91364, 818-346-6500. Corner of Ventura and Topanga Canyon. Oh, and Priceless Bridals, which is my usual place to get gorgeous, inexpensive gowns, has moved to Van Nuys - 16760 Stagg Street, Suite 205, Van Nuys, CA 91406. Phone number is 818-442-9888. Can I just tell you how sad I was when I drove by their old location the other day and they weren't there?

Also, I just found a new website for quirky wedding accessories - Very cool.

Happy shopping!
One more thing - did you know you can enter a lottery to get bleacher seats at the Oscars? Seriously.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

This week's quests: Boxes and Officiants

So, the Debutante Ball. She has these cool invitations - scrolls wrapped up in little glass bottles, so I needed to find boxes for them. My husband ships out video games every week and he sent me to Box City in North Hollywood (they have several different locations in L.A.) where they pretty much have every size box you could possibly imagine. I picked two I thought would work, and I'm meeting her this weekend, so we'll see how it goes. If you need boxes a little cheaper and have time to wait for them, there's also

Also, did you know that a friend or relative can get deputized to perform your wedding? Anyone you want, for just that day. For a small fee, of course.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Hire an Event Planner, Adopt a Hurricane Family

Just got hired to help coordinate a debutante/18th birthday party in December, which means a nice healthy donation to Adopt a Family of Hurricane Katrina Trust Fund. Been listening to Ed Shultz on Air America radio all week, and this is definitely something I can get behind. The website has more info on the program, but here's the address to send a donation:

Adopt a Family of Hurricane Katrina Trust Fund
C/O Ed Schultz
1020 25th ST S
Fargo, North Dakota 58103

And the Deb ball? Really looking forward to it, but I gotta admit, I started looking around for MTV cameras after awhile. But no, this young lady is nothing like the chicks on "My Super Sweet 16" (another guilty pleasure of mine, right alongside "Laguna Beach" - don't ask, I really couldn't tell you why), she's a great kid, and I should know, because she was one of my interns this summer. TOTALLY honored to be asked to help her out with this. Formal wear and deb courts and dances and stuff. Gotta figure out what to wear. You know what I did for my 18th birthday? I went to Disneyland. That was back in the days when there was only one Disneyland, and Katella still had fruit fields on either side of it, and yeah, I'm old...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

September Advice Column is up

This month's advice column is up: When Wedding Budgets and Culture Clashes Meet. Apologies for the typo. Check it out. And remember - send in a question, if it gets published, that's four free hours of wedding consultation for you!

Note to self: No website changes after 1:00 in the morning. Typo city.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Hurricane Katrina: A Wedding Story

This is so cool.

From the Associated Press:

By KATHY HANRAHAN Associated Press Writer

September 04,2005 | JACKSON, Miss. -- Trenise Williams and her fiance were going to be married in New Orleans just hours before Hurricane Katrina unleashed catastrophic damage on the Gulf Coast. They fled the area instead and "with the snap of an eye, I lost everything," she said. The only remnants of the wedding-to-be was a marriage license Williams, 28, tucked into her purse.

She and Joseph Kirsh joined about 3,000 other refugees at the Mississippi Coliseum shelter about 190 miles north of New Orleans.

Shelter resident Rochelle Smith, a Jackson-area woman who was homeless before the storm, heard of Williams' plight on Thursday and decided that a lack of wedding dress or cake wasn't going to stop the couple from having their special day.

On Saturday, the couple were married.

As children played and weary survivors slept, Williams and Kirsh exchanged vows before an Episcopalian minister and a crowd seated in folding chairs. Some snapped photos with instant cameras, while others used camera phones to capture the moment.

The ceremony couldn't approach what the couple had originally planned, but they were touched by the outpouring.

"It's beautiful," said Williams' mother, Evelyn. "It's real hard; we lost everything at once."

Smith took on the role of wedding planner, coordinating donations from local businesses, including jewelry and shoes. Others donated hair and makeup services, a traditional dress and five lilac bridesmaid gowns.

The couple approached local entrepreneur Bob Ford, who owns Sanctuary Golf Club in Brandon. Ford and his wife, Joyce, were cooking food for shelter residents throughout the week. Ford helped finance the ceremony.

"We want to uplift everyone here ... give people something to live for," Ford said.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Hurrincane Katrina

New Orleans was the first vacation my husband and I went on together when we were dating. We stayed at this really cool hotel in the quarter, and hung out with friends he had there, and I have great memories of the city, from that trip and others before. It just breaks my heart.

So, I'm contributing $100 from every wedding that I book in the month of September (the actual wedding can be whenever) to the Red Cross to help the victims of Hurrican Katrina. Like, you will literally watch me write a check to the Red Cross after we sign a contract.

If you would like to donate directly, please go to and find your local chapter. They are accepting walk-in cash and checks, and I'm about to go down there right now and drop off ours.

Everyday we are luckier than we think, and better than we can ever imagine. Believe it.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me!

So, Saturday, I had a birthday party with a few friends and a couple of ex-clients. I was a little terrified because someone wanted to see what a party thrown by their wedding planner looked like, so no pressure, right? Plus our front lawn was completely burned out (NOT my fault, but I've been told that it will get re-sodded in April) and that's where the party was going to be. Our living room isn't big enough, sadly, nor does it have the right amount of seating space. I could go into the whole, well we had to get a particular couch and face it a particular way because the plugs are on a certain side of the wall and we can't get one of those wrap around couches because of where the windows are, but, oh, look, you're asleep already!

Diane Nozik, who is also an ex-client of mine, now works for a wine-tasting company, and she came down and did a wine tasting for all my guests. Good wines. A little too good, actually, because I'm still hung over. Completely awesome riesling, which I bought a couple of bottles of to send to business folks. I can guarantee the whites, and the merlot was good. Her website is She and her husband are also the couple on my car and on my homepage.

So, anyway, back to the party. My husband offered to cook, and he really wanted to make sushi, and who's going to turn down homemade sushi? So, the menu was salmon-based sushi and sashimi, burgers, chips and spinach dip (my favorite), lots of wine, and margaritas, made by my friend's husband (he uses a mix, too, but he makes it better than I ever could). Cake was from Holly's Cakes and Pastries, which, along with being really affordable at $2 a slice, is seriously the best cake in the world. For decorations, I used lots of candles and threw some tiki torches up on the lawn. Using $30 Monster cables I plugged my ipod into our massive television (you can also use them for stereo systems, but the TV was handier - just plug and play) and turned the volume up. And here's the secret: We had some curtains from ikea up in the living room - white with a green floral pattern - that didn't match anything. But they're huge. I had bought some throwaway table covers for the party, but as I was taking down the curtains and replacing them with some white ones that we had, I got to thinking - why not use the curtains as tablecloth covers? They're certainly big enough, and it's a nicer pattern than white plastic. My friend Dee Dee, taking the pattern in consideration, called it "Pulling a Von Trapp". Sometimes you have to use whatever resources are available, baby.

Oh, and of course I have to give a shout-out to Adesso Albums - I wanted to do a Polaroid album for the party and ordered it directly from the company. When they found out that it wouldn't get there until Monday, they tried to ship it to me 3 different ways so it would get to me by the day of the party, and kept me updated the whole way. Now THAT'S customer service! They had these albums at the last wedding I did and used them as guest sign-in books. Sort of an interactive way for your guests to participate.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Back at the Oviatt

This weekend's wedding was a testament to the power of the hour and a half cocktail hour. The line to the bar was always long, and the dance floor was always full, and that's definitely one of my criteria for a successful wedding. The bride was beautiful, the groom was handsome, laughter was heard throughout, and the only thing that kept it from being a perfect evening was the lack of a microphone. Another thing to put on the list. Good thing my voice projects.
The Oviatt is always weird for me, because my mom used to work in two of the buildings that overlook the patio. Back in the dark ages, when I was in first and second grade. Little did I know...

This week is catching up on wedding work that had to be put aside last week, and prepping for my birthday party this weekend. Not sure how many people are going to show up, but one of my ex-brides can't make it because she's working crew for Motley Crue somewhere in, what did she say, Connecticut? Another one is in Hong Kong helping to build Hong Kong Disneyland. This is a great job, just for the stories alone.

So, tip of the week: If you're hiring a friend to do, well, anything, for you, make sure he has all the proper equipment, like a mike. Another one of those things, like trashcans and can openers, that you always take for granted. Nobody's fault, but it's good to get - and give - a heads up.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Meanwhile. . .

I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted! Let's see: I went to the Mac seminar on planning weddings, and it was packed. It was a really great presentation that they put on - DJ'ing with ipod, printing out invites and other wedding stuff, putting video on websites. I'm not really describing it right, but it was very good. I told them, no URGED them, to do them more regularly, because it was standing-room only in there.

Otherwise, I have a wedding at the Oviatt Penthouse this weekend. I did a wedding there last year, and it looks like I might do another one next year. Me and the Oviatt. We're tight. Oh, and I'm my local Starbucks "Customer of the Week"! Free Starbucks all week. Pretty Cool.

So, yeah, not much to write about...
I did get a question that I'm going to use for next month's advice column about how to split wedding costs between parents. Touchy, very touchy.

I'll post again after the wedding tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Wow, I wish I could go to this.

Okay, I just got a powerbook G4 a few weeks ago, and I am in LOVE with it. That and my ipod have totally turned me into a Mac person. One of the great things about it is that I can go into any apple store and get free technical help at their genius bar, or take a free class on their software and stuff like that, PLUS get online because the whole store is wired. Love it. But I have a point - that being that on Sunday, August 14th, at 3pm, the Apple Store at The Grove is holding a free seminar entitled, "Getting Married with the Mac - Not to it". Three recently married guys will walk you through the many ways you can use mac products to do your wedding planning - invitations, calendars and timelines, even DJing your reception with an ipod. Click here for more info - Totally wish I could go, but I'm meeting a bunch of brides and answering questions in Burbank (more info in previous post). Oh, if only one could be two places at once!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Meet the Wedding Planner!

On Sunday, August 14, I'm going to be at the Gordon Biersch Restaurant, 145 South San Fernando Blvd.,Burbank,CA. 2pm. I'm just sitting around, taking questions from future brides about wedding planning. Come meet me! And them! I believe there will be food of some sort...

Monday, August 01, 2005

Get on board the email newsletter train!

Oh, and if you'd like to receive my monthly newsletter, which will,for one thing,let you know when the new advice column is up, email me at

And a small planning tip for the day: If your celebration has to finish by a certain time, make the ending a smooth one. I've found that a great way to end the day is with the Bride and Groom giving a "Thank you for Coming" toast or speech and then leaving immediately afterwards. This should be done 30-45 minutes before everyone needs to be out. Once the guests of honor have left, the room will clear soon afterwards.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Bridal Magazine Review

Last time I gave you a list of the wedding books and magazines that I think are really good. I took another look at the magazines I recommmended - "Martha Stewart Weddings" and "In Style Weddings" - and thought I'd let you know some of the cool stuff that's in them. This might be a regular feature. Or at least seasonal, since those two only come out every couple of months. Check it out:

In Style Weddings:

p. 230: kind of a neat decorating idea for the brave among us. If you're thinking about getting furniture and other decorations for your wedding or reception space, ask a local furniture store or antique shop if you can rent them, for maybe 10% of the rental cost. For the less brave, there are also places that straight out rent stuff like that. One that I'm familiar with is 20th Century Props in North Hollywood, which you can take a look at here.

Also, anyone know the difference between champagne and sparkling wine? Show of hands? The difference, basically, is that champagne is sparkling wine that's made in the Champagne area of France. So, sparkling wine is the same thing, except way cheaper. There some suggestions of which ones to try in here as well. And remember what I said about the Trader Joe's wine a while back. No one has to know.

p. 232: The post-cards-as-Date-Cards idea that I mentioned a few days ago, with lovely pictures.

Martha Stewart Weddings:

Page 25 starts a whole section on ways to use the color pink. Basically, pair them with other colors, like brown and red. Examples abound.

Page 78 has a great example of Martha's DYI spirit - a bride who had her dress made used the leftover fabric to make her groom's tie and handkerchief's for family members. Is that cool or what? Makes me wish that I had a DYI bone in my body, wich I really, really don't. That tip is on the second page of a regular section of the magazine: "What I Learned".

On page 160, there's a coupon for amazing, where you can design and send out postcards for Save-The-Date announcements and Thank You notes.

Page 234 has an idea I wish I'd had when I got married, because my husband is a huge fan: Baseball themed favors. Peanuts! Crackerjacks! Chocolate baseballs!

Plus lots of other wedding projects you can tackle,so you know, if you were wondering how to make a linen ring pillow, here's your chance.

Oh, and Bridezillas. Yeah, okay, I admit it. They're getting a little crazier.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Long time no see. Oh, and take a look at these books.

Yes, it's been awhile. I went to San Diego for my best friend's birthday, I signed a couple more clients, I'm planning weddings for a few more, I'm managing interns, and I've neglected my poor blog. Poor, poor blog.

I've been thinking about putting together a free seminar for future brides, kind of a forum where they could ask me questions, share tips and thoughts with each other, etc. Even went so far as to leave messsges with the event managers of some local bookstores, because I thought that books would be a good jumping off point. I haven't heard back from them, BUT, one of the subscribers to my monthly email list (if you're interested, email me at and I'll hook you up) wants to set something up with people she's been talking to on So hopefully, that will happen August 13 or 14th. More on that later.

But I thought that I would give you an idea of what I consider to be the best wedding books and magazines out there today, you know, while we're talking about it:

- Bridal Bargains, by Denise and Alan Fields. For my money, the best wedding bargains book on the market. Practical, reasonable ways to save money, that don't require a lot of work on your part, just the right resources and smart thinking. You CAN save money even if you don't hand-sew the favors bags yourself.

- Weddings for Dummies, by Marcy Blum. Not only takes you step by step on planning your wedding, but also gives you good tips on things like how to handle bickering in-laws. Because no one ever tells you how to handle the bickering in-laws.

There are other books with promising titles such as "How to have a wedding for under $5,000", but if you can't have the wedding at your house, or don't have a cousin whose willing to cook the food, or don't know someone who owns a barn, you're pretty much out of luck. And some of their ideas just won't work - you can have a clambake on the beach, but if it's in California, you're going to have to get a permit. And find a beach that allows an open flame. And pay for everyone's parking. And get insurance. Oh, and shut the whole thing down before 10pm because of the local noise ordinance. Etc.

- Here Comes the Guide, by Lynn Broadwell and Jan Brenner. One of the first places I look when trying to help clients find a ceremony or reception site. The book is updated every two years, but the website - herecomesthe - is updated more regularly. The book is about $20, so you might want to start with the website.


I've found that most bridal magazines are kind of...pointless. Lots of advertisements with pictures of girls in white dresses, but you have dig through them in order to find any good advice, or any helpful ideas. And in the meantime, they are so huge and bloated, you can use them as doorstops. Now, there are two that I subscribe to, that I stand-by: InStyle Weddings, and Martha Stewart Weddings. The first because even though it focuses on celebrity weddings, the articles also discuss how all the little details are put together, and many of them can be done affordably. The most recent issue, for instance, features a beach wedding at which all the guests were given flip-flops. You can get flip-flops at Target for $1 each. Starfish and seashells as placecards. Well, those are free. There's even a entire article called "Chic on a shoestring" - doable, practical, and above all, gorgeous tips. Plus, you know, you get to see what Tori Spelling's wedding looked like.

Martha Stewart Weddings? Well, she's Martha Stewart. First of all, she's organized as all hell - every issue features an 8-page wedding organizer smack dab in the middle of it: Timeline and Checklist, Guest list worksheets, flowers, music, everything you need that you can photocopy as many times as you want. And, of course, there's the DIY aspect of it, from how to cut fabric trim for your wedding cake to the best way to pose for pictures. Plus, the mag is just beautiful.

I'm also growing fond of Inside Weddings, which a client recently turned me on to. Filled with tons of pictures that made me think, "Ooh, I wanna do that!" Lots of beautiful, original ideas.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Wednesday already?

How the heck did that happen? Went to Palos Verdes for a site visit and brought the girls. I've been to a couple of hillside mansions in my time, but my lovely interns were awed. I was all, right, where are we putting the band, and they were all, wow, look at the view! Is that really the ocean? Ah, the broadening of young minds.

And then we had to run away from a fire. Well, not so much run away as drive in the opposite direction of. A fire broke out in the hills, which was bad for me because I'd gotten lost about three times getting up there in the first place. Embarassing, and the exact reason I always trying to get someplace far at least an hour ahead of time. But Yahoo maps completely screwed me over and sent me to the other side of the mountain. I checked! It wasn't me, I swear!

Now, calling the groom-to-be "Josh" instead of by his real name "Joe"? That was totally me.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Musings on Orange County

I used to live there, actually, between the ages of 10 and 13, in Los Alamitos. The biggest draw at the time was that it was only a few miles down Katella from Disneyland. My wedding on Saturday was decidely far from there, in Mission Viejo. Everything went great, my interns were wonderful. Did what they were told, asked helpful, inciteful questions, asked if they could do more, and were very, very cool. From know on, I'm always gonna get magnet students for interns! I asked them what they learned, and Kristine said: "There's a lot to keep track of, and everything goes really fast, and sometimes people are mean for no reason." Sounds a lot like life, if you ask me. The groom is japanese-american, his parents used to live in Brazil, and he met his bride while teaching english in Japan. His mother was shocked that I knew that there is a large japanese population in Brazil. I know stuff.

The odd thing about hanging out in Orange County is that I saw not one, not two, but three teenagers with rings through their lower lips. THREE. All within an hour of each other, none of them together. Boredom still runs supreme in the OC, I see. Rest assured, I implored Kim and Kristine to get out of there for college. UCLA or Berkeley, or out of state or something. Anything. Just go. 'Cause you can always come back if you want.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

My precious puppy, the murderer

Hailey is the sweetest dog in the world. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body...unless you're a bird.
She caught a sparrow in mid-fly this afternoon, while she and The Boy were playing in the front yard. MID. FLY. And then just kinda looked at it, which is better than what happened the last time she killed a bird, when she put it on Zane's pillow ("But that was good! That was a sign of respect!" No, Zane, it's just ewww...). She also catches flies in mid-air, but she generally eats those.


In other news, I've got a wedding in Orange County this weekend, which will be the first for my lovely interns, Kim and Kristine. They make me feel old, but they rock, even if they didn't think I knew what AIM was. Or a cell phone. And, you know, I've been running into that a lot lately. I was in Best Buy looking for a case for my Treo - my TREO, mind, you - and was telling a young clerk that I'd also seen some online, but..."Oh," he says to me, "Are you afraid to shop online?" Uh, What? Dude. I'm Gen X. We invented AIM. We invented cell phones. And the internet. AND ONLINE SHOPPING. I'm not afraid to shop online, I just don't have the patience to wait for the darn thing to get here.

Also, a tip for all of you out there who need to bring in alcohol for your weddings - try Trader Joe's. They have a merlot and chardonnay- Bear's Lair - that a friend of mine has been giving me as a gift for years. $3.95 a bottle, $48 for the case. It's one of my favorite labels, and even though it's impossibly cheap, no one will ever be able to tell. Well, unless they read my blog. It's $3.95 a bottle. Go and try it for yourself. You've got my client Robbin to thank for that tip - she reminded me of something I already knew. Gotta love it when that happens.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Holiday weekend

Tip of the, uh, week: If you're having an outdoor wedding or reception, decide if you're going to transport the chairs from the ceremony site to the reception site, or get twice as many chairs. It's that old fight between frugality and convenience.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Here Comes Bridezilla!

Okay, so you can download the theme song to "Bridezilla" on the Women's Entertainment network here. Which I've done, because I'm highly amused by the thought of listening to it on my ipod. Yeah, I watch the show, because I sort of feel a professional obligation to. And it's also kind of cool to see how other coordinators do the same job, and how other vendors work as well.

But seriously? I'm not impressed. These women, for the most part, are NOT bridezillas. I have, so far, not seen anything out of the ordinary, or anything out of hand. Did you know that women get stressed out about their weddings? SHOCKER! They want everything a certain way, and if the PEOPLE THAT THEY ARE PAYING TO HELP THEM OUT don't come through, they get upset! And sometimes, you know, sometimes? If one of their vendors - you know, the ones that they're paying - suggests something that they don't like...okay, you're not going to believe this one: The brides tell them so. And insist on having things their way! I know. I couldn't believe it myself.

The thing of it is, is that weddings, even the smallest ones, are big detailed productions that require a lot of decisions that need to made, and take a lot of time to make them. This is the one day when you get to be "on stage" as it were, and all eyes are on you. No pressure, right?

Granted, some brides are less, uh, polished than others. Some are downright drama queens. But no one's really been rude, so far. At least, not without reason.

It's surprising to me that they couldn't really find honest-to-God bridezillas. You know, the ones that insist their bridesmaids all get the same color highlights. Or scream at them. Or burst into tears and hide when something goes wrong. The women on "Bridezilla" are pretty normal. Or maybe I've just been lucky?

Oh, okay, the scene with Gretchen and her mom fighting with the rental car repair men was a little out of control. . .

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Busy, busy, busy

Yup, wedding season is definitely here. I just signed two new clients in the past couple of weeks, so that makes a total of six weddings I'm actively working on. Which sounds like a lot. Well, it kind of is a lot, but it sounds like a lot less once you realize that three of them are next year. But there's a lot of work to do at the beginning of planning a wedding, too. There IS! I...oh, never mind. Two of them are in the next six weeks, so let's just say I'm busy. And I love being busy. As far as I'm concerned, boredom is the devil.

Oh, and I finally got the treo. I debated about getting the sci-fi headset, but with the 600 it requires an adapter for about an extra $150, so I just got a regular headset. I'm just going to use it in my office (I use the speakerphone in the car) so I don't need to look that cool. What was really funny was when I told my best friend Dee Dee about it, and she said, "Yeah, I know the headset you're talking about. Some of our sales staff has them, and it drives everyone else crazy, because it looks like they're walking around talking to themselves." Like in Star Trek! Ah, well.

Also, for you future brides out there, another tip: Check out the "1 spot" section at your local target. You know, that section right at the entrance where everything is only $1.00? They have some cool stuff you can definitely use for weddings, like favor boxes, and little flowers, and I found things like white flip-flops with a flower on top of them, which would be great as part of a bridesmaid's gift.

Also, for you Burbank/Glendale brides, have you checked out June's in the Burbank mall? Not only do they have wedding and bridal party dresses, but there's an entire section dedicated to wedding and event paraphenalia.

And, I don't know. Should I get a "Free Katie" t-shirt? Yeah, like she's someplace she didn't willingly want to go.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

And this is what it looks like...

And as much as I didn't really want to call it The Charm Mobile, the name's kind of growing on me. Curse my cheesy side!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Now Introducing: The Charm Mobile!

Well, it's finally done. I got the back of my car "wrapped" with a big ad around the back - I'll post a picture just as soon as I find the computer jack for my camera. It took so long to get it done, like a whole month, but it's done and it looks great. If you see it, give me a call. The number's right there on the back of the car. :-)

Also, we went to Santa Barbara this weekend. I'm doing a wedding at the zoo in October, so I went up to meet their coordinator and check out the wedding spot. Just a cute zoo! About the size of a large parking lot, but has all the animals you'd expect. Even lemurs, which made me and the Boy break out into a promptu rendition of "I Like to Move It" from Madagascar. If you haven't seen it, see it. And if you haven't been to the Santa Barbara zoo, go.

And I signed two new clients this weekend. One in Orange County next month and the other next Catalina! I'm so excited, because it gives me the opportunity to learn more about Catalina, and probably go over there at some point. I really am a research geek.

Oh, and I might just have a Treo by the end of the week. So far, so good.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Buckle up. I'm about to bag on someone.

Okay, so I was in San Diego and the O.C. this weekend - girl's trip, one of my best friends is 6.5 months pregnant, and she (rightfully) figured she wasn't going to get anywhere once the babe was born, so off we went - and as I am wont to, I picked up some of the local papers. In one of them - and I won't say which - there is an advice columnist. And I won't say who. A future bride wrote to her to ask what to do about her fiance, who was under the impression that they could have an extravagant wedding for little or no money, with about 300 guests, and he could not be convinced otherwise. The bride herself wanted a smaller wedding and had a much better understanding of how much money they had to spend, and how far it would go. She was, understandably, frustrated with her fiance's position, and wanted to know what she could do to convince him. That was pretty much the extent of her question.

So, I read this, and I thought, well, obviously, he's clueless. He has no idea that the cake alone is going to be somewhere between $2-6 bucks a slice, not counting the $2-5bucks the caterer/reception site is going to charge the cut the darn thing. That site rental could start as little as a couple hundred bucks but range to a few thousand. No clue that a good meal for all your guests is going to be around $30 a person, and that's not even counting alcohol. And then there's the band/DJ. And the flowers. Etc. Sure there are plenty of ways to cut costs, but the sheer amount of stuff you have to do and buy before you get to the end of the aisle is amazing. And truthfully, most people don't understand until they start adding it up. My suggestion would have been to do some research, actually show him how much some of this stuff costs, and see what he thinks at that point. Come up with a wedding budget you're both comfortable with. If he thinks he can find anything cheaper, then let him try. Agree on what he's going to handle and what you're going to handle, decide on a deadline to check back in with each other, and go from there.

The columnist's advice? Well, if he doesn't get it, obviously something must be wrong with their relationship. Are the two of them even compatible? I'm not kidding you. She goes on for another paragraph about How Well Does She Even Know Her Fiance? Have they talked about how they're going to raise their children? She told the woman to get pre-marital counseling, because, you know, therapy is less expensive than a divorce lawyer.


Uh. I'm all for pre-marital counseling, but this is hardly a relationship issue. There are a couple of things you should try before you start wondering if the two of you are really meant to be. I mean, really. Involve him in the planning process, and he'll get a clue right quick. Decide on a budget. And he'll get a clue right quick. Sit down and write down a preliminary guest list. And he'll get...well, you see what I'm saying.

But maybe that's just me.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

June Gloom...and Boom

I'm supposed to go on a trip with some friends of mine this weekend - one of those hang out by the pool the whole time kind of trips - when one of them checked the weather channel and realized it was going to be cloudy most of the time. Lived here my whole life, minus five years, and I forget about the contradiction of June every time. I'll chalk it up to hope springing eternal as opposed to early alzheimers.

In wedding related news, I spent the better part of the day crunching numbers for a couple trying to decide whether to get married in town or in Santa Barbara. Tip of the day: Want an accurate budget? Include tax, service, and delivery charges. At 10-20% a pop, those can really add up. And also, June marks the one-year anniversary of the wedding advice column. Woo Hoo!

And in Star Wars related news, the book was totally better than the movie.

Friday, May 20, 2005

I saw Star Wars!

So, me and the Boy saw Revenge of the Sith last night. Blew away the first of this trilogy, much better than the second, but still...Look, I'm a huge Star Wars fan. I've been a little disturbed by Lucas' need to screw around with his own mythology (Jedi can't marry? So, how do they make little Jedis? What? What the hell is a midi-chlorian?), but it is his mythology, after all. But why on earth he felt the need to direct these, when he is seriously just, BAD. The only one he seemed to direct to have any type of emotion you can interpret was Ewan McGregor. With everyone else, it was like, "Okay, pretend this is a high school play. No, I changed my mind: Junior High!" And let's not even talk about the dialogue, since everyone else has. Or the plot holes you can drive a truck through: Okay, so Anakin and Padme have been married for awhile, and no one's supposed to know, but no one wonders where he's spending his nights? Nope. Anyone bother to ask Padme before all hell breaks loose who the father of her child is? Nah. And she's pretty much showing for most of the movie. That moment actually busted me up: Obi-Wan, in mid- run to go find Anakin, suddenly turns to a clearly waddling Padme and storms, "Your child is HIS, isn't it?" Um. DUH. Aren't the Jedi supposed to be more tuned into the universe than your average, ordinary bear? No wonder they got killed off so easily.

But there are some really good moments. The light saber fights are amazing. The special effects actually work a lot better this time. And once Anakin goes fully-frontal Sith, it's pretty intense. When things go bad, it happens quick and it's stunning. Sometimes to the point where you think Lucas is somewhere in the back going, "Okay, we gotta wrap this up." But still, I enjoyed it. To the point where I'm tempted to pick up the novel adaptation, because I think the book might just be better than the movie. I'd give the movie a solid B.

And also? The Apprentice? Kendra had that job at "Hello". Trump is a big fat liar when he said that he didn't decide until last night. There is no way in hell he could hire Tana after the way she treated her team, giant backpedal on her part or not. But could you imagine him offering either Bill or Kelly the choice of managing a beauty contest or re-decorating a house? Really? Couldn't have come up with something a little less "girly", huh?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Lessons Learned from Monster-In-Law

Actually, I learned nothing from Monster-In Law, except that I'm blessed to have really cool in laws. I did, however, find J.Lo's pineapple quartz necklace from the movie, but you'll have to email me if you want me to tell you where it is. Only $60 plus shipping! Seriously, I thought it was going to be way more than that. Mostly, I try to keep my compulsive shopping to songs on itunes and the occassional Nine West purchase at Macys, but sometimes things can get out of hand. Like my obsession with finding a reasonably priced treo. Although, now I'm thinking a Blackberry might be better. But these are all what we call "high-end problems."

I've known a couple of brides with difficult Mothers-in-law, and honestly, I don't know what to say. It seems to me that hating the woman your son has chosen to spend the rest of his life with is entirely counter-productive: this is the person who is going to be the future mother of your grandchildren, thereby controlling access to them, and in the meantime, controls access to your kid. And is it going to make your son happy if you're constantly bickering with his wife? Anyway. I really liked the movie, though, as did most of the people around me, if you can count by all the laughter. It wasn't art, or even "Elf", but it was entertaining, which is all you can ask from a movie these days.

In other news, one of my clients, who's trying to plan a wedding in Los Angeles while working in Hong Kong, accidentally dropped her cell phone in a man-made lake. Life? She is never boring.

Friday, May 13, 2005

The Apprentice - DOH!

So, I was watching the Apprentice on Thursday, and spent the better part of it cowering on the couch. Although I still believe Tana's task - as shown - was tons harder than Kendra's, the Olympic Event was just...traumatic. From Chris saying that the crooked signs were "Good enough for government work" to the un-proofed brochures, to keeping the Governor's aide waiting (ya gotta get folks like that what they want, because they will never stop bugging you, and they'll talk bad about you, too) to her constantly, constantly ragging on her team, Tana just didn't go over very well. One of the important things about event planning is to not let any seams show, and there were just seams everywhere. Event worker after event worker rolling their eyes as they walked away from her summed everything up. I was totally in Tana's corner before this, but now...Congratulations, Kendra.

Of course, in the "Stupidity is remakably evenhanded portion" of tonight's blog, I've had the Star Package linked to the Sterling package on the website for the better part of a week. Note to self: No webmastering after 1:30 in the morning. Doh! Indeed. All better now.

Summing it all up

From Shakespeare in Love:

Philip Henslowe: Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster. Hugh Fennyman: So what do we do? Philip Henslowe: Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well. Hugh Fennyman: How? Philip Henslowe: I don't know. It's a mystery.

I love that dialogue.

Monday, May 09, 2005

The New Black

It's official: This year's Beach wedding is last year's backyard wedding. Doesn't anyone want to get married in a non-descript hotel ballroom anymore? No? Three weeks, three requests for beach weddings. Plus a couple more on craigslist. My best friend Dee Dee thinks it might have something to do with the crappy weather we've been having - all everyone wants to do is get married on the beach under the hot, hot son. Could be. It certainly would explain why all my clients are making sure there's a rain contingency for their weddings, though.

My weekend was good, I spent it hanging out with The Boy. Saw "Kingdom of Heaven" which I thought was excellent. Went to the Camarillo outlet and went crazy at Harry and David's. The usual.

Tip of the day: Honeymoons. Make sure the name on your ticket matches the name on your passport. I had this discussion with a client today, and the truth is, your name doesn't officially change until you officially change it through Social Security. Anything else pretty much involves a whole lot of paper you have to carry around.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Dishes Are Done!

Okay, it's 3:30 in the morning, the advice column is up, the blog is up, and I am going to bed. Tomorrow I'm tracking down a potential site for my future webmistress and trying to find hotels in Santa Barbara. And middling things like changing my car insurance and going to Target. Ah, the glamourous life of a wedding planner. It never ends...

Ode to Craigslist

Okay, so Craigslist is like, the greatest thing ever. I found our house on Craigslist. A great deal of my clients found me on Craigslist, and I've found a few of them there as well. Part-time jobs, DVD players, you name it, I've found it. Right now, I'm trying to find a reasonably priced Treo 600 for Verizon (hello? anyone?) on Craigslist. So, I'm a definitely a fan.

It's funny, because when I started posting about a year ago, the event services section was way less crowded than it is now. For one thing, it was just me and a couple of other coordinators posting regularly, and now it's like, six or seven a day. And what's hysterical is that some of them have started imitating me. I'm not kidding. Just a couple of days ago, I posted, "Actually, You Can Afford a Wedding Planner", which opened up into a description of my services and a link to the website. Not two hours later, I went back and checked the listings, to find that another coordinator had posted, "Finally, A Wedding Planner You Can Afford!" Uh. Okay...And then there's coordinators who've basically riffed off my company's name to create their own names - or, if they haven't, it's an awfully big coincidence. And, you know, the irony is that they all claim to be "creative" and "original". Whatever. There's plenty of business for everyone, I know for a fact that a couple of those guys have lost business to me, and this is the closest I will ever get to confronting them. I have better stuff to do. They have better stuff to do, too, I just hope they get around to realizing it. But I don't know, should I be...flattered?

But seriously? Treo? Anyone? I'd be willing to trade a wedding planning package for it...

Enough of the Trash Cans Already

So, I spent all of today updating my website - I addded new pictures, and a link to this blog. I started out just wanting to put in the new advice column, but then I wanted to add the blog. And I love that picture of Diane and Andrew that my friend and one-time assisstant Winnie took. So I added that. Changed the navigation bars. Tweaked a couple of things. Still haven't gotten to the column, so I expect to be up a little late.

I'm actively working on three weddings now. The first is on the 21st, and it's local, but it's around the time when I need to get all of their vendor names and start putting together a timeline. The second wedding is happening in either September or October. That couple wants to look around a bit more before deciding on a place to get married. This one is actually a lot of fun for me, because it's kind of like a treasure hunt - they have very specific needs, and it's kind of game for me to find a place that can fit all of them. I think I might be getting close, so we'll see what happens. The third couple aren't getting married until next year, which is really cool for me, because it's been a while since I've had the chance to help build a wedding from scratch. I love doing research. In return, the bride is re-doing my website, so stay tuned. I expect great things. Some of the greatest webmasters I've known were women. Present company excluded, of course.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Meanwhile, back in the O.C.

So, Saturday and Sunday I was in Orange County. Like, DEEP Orange County. Two hours round-trip from my humble little abode in the San Fernando Valley. What I love about this gig is that every wedding is different. Sunday's wedding was at the clubhouse of a planned community - Ladera Ranch. This place was pretty posh - two swimming pools, three different lawns, a full kitchen with a double-fridge any restaurant would be proud of. There was a living room, and a great room, and the place was like a resort in and of itself. ANYWAY. Color me impressed. So, I worked mostly with the bride's mother, who was wonderful, and presented me with a four page excel timeline that started on Thursday, and went all the way to Sunday at 10pm. She'd asked about 20 friends and relatives to help set-up the morning of the wedding, so this determined group of people descended on the clubhouse, and had pretty much everything all set-up in a couple of hours. Wow. And then, at the end of the night, the same group of people broke down everything in a couple of hours. Everything was absolutely perfect, except...they forgot to get extra trash cans. Dun dun dun! Trust me, it's always something.

Trash cans are one of those things where you really don't miss them until you don't have them. And then, you REALLY miss them. Someone ran out and got four of them an hour before the wedding, and, luckily, we already had trash bags. And you're sitting here thinking, "Wait, she's talking about trash cans?" Yes, I am, and if youre stuck at a wedding or reception site that doesn't have enough trash cans for the garbage of 20 floral displays, 200 guests, and like, 400 cupcakes and ice cream containers, than you, too, will be be talking about their absence. I'm just saying. Especially if you have a friend of the family's constantly saying to you, "Where are the trash cans? We need to throw out the trash before the wedding! Don't forget to throw out the trash before the wedding!" I KNOW. I know, already!

Also learned about quake wax, this sticky stuff that museums use to keep displays in place. Which I really could have used at last week's wedding, when the orchids kept falling over on the tables.

The Bride and Groom didn't really know anything about these problems. Which is as it should be.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Oh, you're a wedding planner? (Head tilt)Like J.Lo?
A: Like J.Lo in the movie, yes. And, if you think about it, like J.Lo in real life, as well.

Q: Is being a wedding planner just like the movie?
A: It's not far off. I wish I had her supersuit with all the bottles. Instead, I carry around a purse that has everything I'll need during the wedding, and a larger bag that has everything I'll need before and after the wedding. And I'm constantly adding things. Last week, I added a can opener. Because the week before that, neither the caterer nor the reception site had a can opener. Believe it or not. This week, I'm adding Quake wax. Also, the question, "Are there enough trash cans on site?"

It is like the movie in that it can be hectic, but there's a great payoff. I always get this stupid grin on my face when the bride finally walks down the aisle.

Q: Who's the most difficult bride you've ever had to deal with?
A: Yeah, right. Like I'd ever tell on a public blog. Although, honestly, I've been really lucky on that front. No real bridezilla stories. No, seriously. Other people, on the other hand...

Q: What's the worst thing that's gone wrong at a wedding you've coordinated?
A: Well, once, a bridesmaid forgot her dress. In Burbank. And the wedding was in Malibu. Another time, the Bride forgot to bring the marriage license. And another time, I cut my foot three hours before a wedding. That kind of sucked. I went anyway, because that's just the type of person I am .

Q:What's your number one rule as a wedding planner?
A: Don't panic, there's a solution to everything. The number two rule is to keep any problems OBR - Off the Bride's Radar.

Q: Any advice for potential Brides and Grooms?
A: No matter what happens, at the end of the day you're going to be married, and that's what its all about. That's why all the people who care about you are there, to celebrate that fact. Make sure you get the chance to speak to everyone who came. Before you walk down the aisle, take a deep breath and look around, so you can remember everything.